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As we discussed earlier, the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. (PIANY) has been heavily supporting a recent bill regarding the regulation of the issuance of certificates of insurance. In addition to that bill, PIANY has announced their legislative agenda for the 2014 session. The issues they intend to address are labor laws, auto insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation. They also have an interest in trying to eliminate the competitive advantages of the State Insurance Fund once again.

Labor Law 240, 241, and 241-a Reform

Currently, there is a “strict liability” standard built into New York Labor Law 240, 241, and 241-a that affects general contractors and property owners in instances when workers are injured on job sites. Insurers often exclude general liability for contractors in their insurance policies as a result of this law, which eliminates the option for a customary legal defense in these kinds of injury lawsuits.

Most general liability policies for general contractors exclude compensation for claims that relate to Labor Law 240, 241, and 241-a. When this is the case, a contractor may face bankruptcy because of uninsured claims. Additionally, there will be no insurance compensation for the injured parties.

The “strict liability” provision of Labor Law 240, 241, and 241-a has a significant impact on New York State’s economy and job market, especially for small businesses and minority and women-owned businesses. This is because bids on jobs take the cost of insurance into account, and any new construction projects are often impossibly expensive. PIANY wants the reform to change the “strict liability” to a negligence standard instead, to alleviate the strain on contractors and business owners.

Auto Insurance

The way that the law is written at present, it is mandatory for auto insurance policyholders to have a photo inspection done on their vehicle within a certain amount of time after an accident. If they fail to have this inspection done, the policyholder will be unable to recover compensation for any physical damage done to the vehicle. With the exception of the companies that profit from taking these inspection photos, it has been universally agreed by everyone involved that there is no longer a need for these kinds of inspections, and it’s a dated protocol that should be repealed. Even the insurance providers feel that the photo inspections are unnecessary, and support the repeal so that they can choose to pay the claims.

In our next post, we’ll address the PIANY’s concerns regarding property insurance and workers’ compensation. Stay tuned!

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